The voices of thousands of empowered water protectors rise into the air and mingle with the breeze. Boldly colored signs for change can be seen from a distance. Indigenous people paint their faces with the colors of crimson sky, ambrosia sunset, azure, ignited and weightless amber, celestial sphere enveloped in monochrome onyx, and forsythia aubade. The atmosphere is one of peaceful preservation and the powerful auras of each soulful and passionate individual unite into a glowing army of tranquil and mindful advocates whose spirits ascend to an elevation of prosperity and sanctuary. Guardianship ripples across the sacred Native American land as water protectors stand their ground while law enforcement stands numb, hostile to the urgency and importance of this situation, only there for the paycheck. This is just a fragment of the mirror that reflects upon the true happenings at Standing Rock and just how the significance of the construction of the Dakota Pipeline both morally and objectively would impact the inhabitants of Standing Rock. The Dakota Access Pipeline is a 1,172-mile-long underground oil pipeline project in the United States and untold ramifications would be subsequent to the construction of the Dakota Pipeline. Water would be contaminated, burial grounds and sacred lands would be disturbed, this nation’s morals and priorities would be tested, and water protectors will have endured governmental abuse for nothing.
First of all, it is common knowledge that the human right to clean water is essential to life, this human right is being compromised with the Dakota Access Pipeline. If the pipeline is built, then the quality of water will decrease. (Global Research) There is a prodigal chance that the oil pipeline will leak and contaminate the water source that the people of Standing Rock use on a daily basis for their entire lifetime. There will be unimaginable ramifications that come with contaminated water. “It could affect 28 tribes and millions of people. An inevitable oil spill from the pipeline, releasing diesel fuel and toxic levels of contaminants into the river would be culturally and environmentally catastrophic to the tribe, polluting its source of water and critical farmlands.” (Global Research) The Dakota Pipeline would lead to the environmental destruction of Native American lands and be the cause of deaths of many Native Americans. Also, according to people who had used contaminated water for bathing or laundry, they were burdened with skin problems, ranging from mild rashes to severe and lasting eczema and invasive skin cancers. (Business Insider) The concerns of the tribe at Standing Rock are fueled by ramifications as well as evidence of large, numerous pipeline ruptures and pipeline leaks. There have been ruptures in extremely recent, newly constructed pipes built by the ETP (Energy Transfer Partners). The Permian Express pipeline located in Texas was a brand-new pipe, 8,000 barrels of oil leaked from it. A very new pipeline, Keystone One, again, spilled 14 times in just its first year. (PBS) Kelcy Warren, the CEO of ETP refuted this solid evidence of pipeline failure by claiming that the worries about environmental harm from the Dakota Pipeline are ”unfounded”. His rebuttal is lacking any statistical or logical evidence makes his rebuttal quite “unfounded”.
Secondly, for 2 years, water protectors have fought for the rights of the Standing Rock tribe, their bravery and hospitality only to be returned with violence from law enforcement. (USA Today) There have been claims (backed by pictures and videos) of law enforcement violently treating protectors by attacking them with attack dogs, mace, and rubber bullets. Around 150 people were arrested at Standing Rock with riot and conspiracy even though they were peaceful protestors. (Democracy Now) Amy Goodman delivered some startling news, ”We begin today’s show in North Dakota with the ongoing Standoff at Standing Rock, where thousands of Native Americans, representing more than 200 tribes from across the Americas, are resisting the construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which is slated to carry oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields through South Dakota, Iowa and into Illinois. On Saturday, over a hundred people, who call themselves protectors, not protesters, were arrested on a peaceful march after they were confronted by police in riot gear carrying assault rifles.” Sacheem Seitcham who was arrested during the protests, shared just a sample of the horrors of the protests that he had witnessed, ”They threw a young woman who was trying to protect a child in the march. They smacked her in the ribs with a baton and, you know, broke it. That’s how forceful they were.” It is evident like law enforcement is abusing their power in this situation. People who are just trying to protect sacred land and water are being mistreated, threatened, and tortured at the hands of law enforcement.
Lastly, the Dakota Pipeline would run through sacred prayer and burial sites. “Construction for the pipeline will destroy our burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts," the Standing Rock Sioux tribe said. (CNN) Imagine how tragic it would be to have the burial site of a loved one destroyed. Their grave once reflecting rich, beautiful memories with roots that ran deep, now shattered, not just the memories of the loved ones, but a bit of the one experiencing this tragedy shatters too. Knowing that their late loved ones’ are being treated with unimaginable levels of disrespect just so that the ETP could feed their beast of corporate greed. Simply put, it is a horror the way that such crucial aspects of culture would be destroyed due to the Dakota Pipeline. Thousands of years of family’s graves ravaged, cultural significance torn away in the face of mankind, places of worship disregarded and ripped away, and precious facets of culture mindlessly and soullessly broken piece by piece are just a handful of the monstrosities will happen if the Dakota Access Pipeline is constructed.
All of those empowered water protectors fighting against the Dakota Pipeline are fighting for more than what meets the eye. They are fighting for clean, uncontaminated water for the tribe at Standing Rock and peaceful, undisturbed prayer and burial grounds. If built, the Dakota Pipeline will single-handedly take away what all of those inspired water protectors are working against. It will rip all of those mentioned essentials away from the Tribe at Standing Rock. It can’t happen. The People of Standing Rock deserve clean water and undisturbed burial and prayer grounds, therefore, the construction of the Dakota Pipeline must be ceased!